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We’ve invited our past TEDxColumbus speakers and other friends to give us their top five favorite talks to in turn, share with you, for our Friday Favorites blog series.

This week, Randy Nelson (full bio below) TEDxColumbus 2011 speaker shares his favorite talks.

1. Theresa Flores: Find a Voice with Soap


2. Claudia Kirsch: Hitchhikers Beware


3. Jessica Hagy: So you think you are interesting?


4. Gary Wenk: Long life depends on this


5. The Salty Caramels: Live performance


Randy J. Nelson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at The Ohio State University Medical Center. He holds the Dr. John D. and E. Olive Brumbaugh Chair in Brain Research and Teaching.  Dr. Nelson also holds joint appointments as Professor of Psychology and Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. OSU. Nelson earned his AB and MA degrees in Psychology in at the University of California at Berkeley. He earned a PhD in Psychology, as well as a second PhD in Endocrinology simultaneously from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Nelson then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive physiology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Nelson served on the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University from 1986 until 2000 where he was Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He joined the faculty at OSU in the fall of 2000.

Nelson has published over 300 research articles and several books describing studies in seasonality, behavioral endocrinology, biological rhythms, stress, immune function, sex behavior, and aggressive behavior. His current studies examine the effects of light at night on metabolism, mood, inflammation, and behavior.

Nelson has been continuously funded since 1984.  He has been elected to Fellow status in several scientific associations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and the Animal Behavior Society. Nelson has served on many federal grant panels and currently serves on the editorial boards of six scientific journals.  He was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award at OSU in 2006, as well as the University Distinguished Lecturer, and the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2009. Nelson was a 2011 TEDxColumbus speaker.


Follow This, TEDxColumbus

[by Kendra Hovey]

The game is over. The parsing and commentary might last a day or two more, maybe three, and then we’ll move on. So before the national conversation around the Super Bowl wraps up, there’s something important to acknowledge: That national conversation has broadened, and it’s a direct result of the work of people such as TEDxColumbus speaker Theresa Flores and the many others who are bringing awareness to the issue of human trafficking.

Flores’ organization S.O.A.P was at the Super Bowl, as usual, working to reach those forced into the sex trade. But also, as articles in the Times Picayune and the Huffington Post suggest, human trafficking—a reality at these large-scale events—is entering into the usual chatter around the Super Bowl. It’s a small part of the Super Bowl talk, but that it is being mentioned, at all, is significant.

Also significant is the shift in language. After Flores’ 2011 talk, the word “prostitution” pretty much left my vocabulary. It’s not the right word for what really happens. That’s just me, of course, but all around, at least in the media, the word “prostitution” is giving way to the more accurate term “human trafficking.”

It’s no small thing to change how we talk.

In a post from last year, FT shared some news from Flores. More has accumulated since. 2012 saw the release of “The Girl Next Door,” a 25-minute film based on the life of Theresa Flores. Directed by Andrea Picco while a student at New York Film Academy, the documentary has made the rounds at various festivals, including the Women’s Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles. It was also an Official Selection at Indianapolis’ Heartland Festival. Last month it was screened here in Columbus as part of the Ohio Liberators Awards, and this very week it will show in Amagansett, New York in the Hamptons. Back in January, TED Blog included Flores’ TEDxColumbus talk in a collection of “5 brave personal stories of domestic abuse.”

[We should also mention that 2012 presenter Gary Wenk was featured in the December TEDx blog post: Eat this TEDx Talk: 7 talks on food and its future.]

And one last bit of recent news: Word has it that Flores is currently working with a European publisher to release her book, The Slave Across the Street, to audiences overseas.

Kendra Hovey is editor and head writer at Follow This. On Twitter @KendraHovey, she blogs at



Follow This, TEDxColumbus

[by Kendra Hovey]

Does the goateed man behind the medical “dummy” in this photograph from the Sunday Columbus Dispatch look familiar?

Yes, that is Reade Harpham.

The industrial designer who leads the human-centric design team at Battelle was also on the first ever roster of TEDxColumbus speakers.

That was in 2009.

In 2011, TEDxColumbus presenter Alex Bandar reminded us of Harpham’s inventiveness in his own talk, “The Need to Make.”

Not only Harpham, other “alumni” recently in the media glow (traditional, social or otherwise) include Theresa Flores, Barbara Fant and Michael Wilkos.

In an occasional series, of which this is the first, FOLLOW THIS will collect and share newsworthy moments in the lives of TEDxColumbus community members.

• For Harpham, the recent Dispatch article highlights his work for Battelle testing medical devices in “the wild,” so to speak, scrutinizing their functionality when in the hands of real people (end-users) in real world situations (end-use). An excerpt from the article:

“You should know what the users are going to do, you should know what the errors could be, what the misuse should be, and (you) should have designed that out of the system as you go,” Harpham said.

• Publicity is part of Theresa Flores’ mission to bring awareness (and an end) to human trafficking. She’s told her story over and over again on stages and in front of cameras (and at TEDxColumbus 2011) but earlier this year it was Ohio Governor John Kasich who shared her story as part of his State of the State speech, then presented her with one of the first ever Courage Awards:

Gov Kasich- The Governor’s Courage Awards Clip from TEDxColumbus on Vimeo.

A few months later, Flores was again with Kasich, this time in the Governor’s Office, as he signed the executive order creating the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force:

Gov Kasich-Fighting Human Trafficking in Ohio Clip from TEDxColumbus on Vimeo.

• If you saw Michael Wilkos’ 2010 TEDxTalk or if you read about him here you know that his enthusiasm for the city of Columbus tends a bit towards the unbridled. Imagine, then, how he must have felt last month when presented with an award with the following inscription:

This award is presented to Michael in recognition of his efforts advancing the mission of the Neighborhood Design Center and his unending demonstration of citizenship to Columbus. We thank him for his dedication to our organization and his selfless contributions to our community’s neighborhoods.

Al Berthold Executive Director of The Neighborhood Design Center presented the Busser Award to Wilkos on August 6, 2012 (looking on is past NDC President Ruth Gless).

• Barbara Fant, who we featured in this post back in April, received a nice surprise last month. Invited to The Columbus Foundation on the 9th of August, she walked into Davis Hall to see her own words etched onto the wall. Next to the delightfully surprised Fant is Foundation President and CEO Doug Kridler.



The excerpt is from her poem “Today Beginning Again”—commissioned by The Foundation and shared at the Columbus Bicentennial. You can watch it here:

Photo of Reade Harpham by Tom Dodge, Columbus Dispatch; Photos of Michael Wilkos and Barbara Fant by Nick George, The Columbus Foundation

Kendra Hovey is editor and head writer at Follow This. On Twitter @KendraHovey, she blogs at